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Statsports Feature

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// 20 Feb 2018

Dundalk FC have signed a new sponsorship deal with STATsports – a leading international sports performance analysis company.

That data can be used to monitor individual players’ progress and also compare them to other squad members.

The STATsports logo will be carried on the back of the Lilywhites home and away jersey for the 2018 SSE Airtricity League season.

The deal will see Stephen Kenny and his staff have use of the full range of STATsports software and equipment.

STATsports general manager, Paul Johnston, said: “STATSports is one of the world’s leading Sports Performance Monitoring and Tracking companies. Working exclusively in the Elite Sports Industry, STATSports provide key physiological and performance information on many of the world’s leading athletes and football players.

“Founded in 2007 by Alan Clarke and Sean O’Connor from Dundalk and Bellurgan respectively, the company is headquartered in Newry. There are also offices in Dundalk at the DKIT, London, Lisbon and Chicago. There are close to 60 staff at present looking after 350+ clients around the world.

STATSports provide bespoke services covering sports such as Football, Rugby, Basketball, American Football, Hockey, GAA and Athletics. Clubs like Man City, Man Utd, Liverpool, Arsenal, Spurs, Juventus, AS Roma, are clients. Rugby clients include Ireland, England, France, South Africa and each of the four provinces, Leinster, Munster, Ulster and Connaught.

‘Major sporting events like World Cups, European Championships, Champions and Europa Leagues, 6 Nations, NFL Superbowls, All Ireland Finals, take on an added importance when you are working with teams and athletes directly competing’ according to Paul Johnston Chief Operations Director at STATSports.

“STATSports provide a series of key performance indicators around Athlete movements and exertion levels in Elite Sports. Metrics like total distance, number of sprints, accelerations, decelerations, heart rate are all key to understanding the performance of an Athlete. STATSports go over and above this to provide even more in-depth metrics to professional practitioners responsible for fine tuning Athletes for match day and a gruelling season in their sport.

“Gone are the days of sprinting up and down the stand in Oriel Park or any stadium around the world’ Johnston says. Strength and Conditioning coaches, sports scientists, Athletic Trainor’s, Medical staff are preparing athletes for sports that are played at an increasingly higher intensity than in the past. What is different now is these coaching professionals understand the exact requirements needed to compete at these levels and train each of their individual athletes accordingly.

“Tailored programmes are prepared. Teams get used to training at the intensity their head coach/manager want them to play at so there are fully prepared for match day. Metrics like High Metabolic Load Distance or Dynamic Stress load measure how intense an Athlete is working at and what toll that takes on their bodies. Step Balance, Fatigue Index’s, time in red zone are amongst a couple of other metrics/indicators these coaches use to understand how an Athlete is coping with a training session or match.

“Rehab and recovery programmes are tailored to getting an Athlete right back to the level of physiological performance he/she was at prior to an injury.

“Although Headquartered in Newry, STATSports have plenty of Dundalk staff working with them…….’Cork staff too added Johnston and they are letting us know it. Alan, Sean and I are all from Dundalk and whenever we are at home on a Friday night there will be one of us heading up to Oriel. The club have been through an unbelievable last 5 years and credit to everybody involved.

“Stephen, the players, coaches, owners and admin staff get all the credit and rightly so, and I also believe that Dundalk Supporters have also stepped up and support is continuing to grow at home and overseas. Given the clubs we work with from the Premier Lg, La Liga, Seria A, Bundesliga we see team Jerseys everywhere, but it is nice to come home and see so many kids wearing Dundalk FC Jerseys. With new owners now from Peak6 in America, who have experience in investing in football clubs, there is a platform and opportunity to continue to grow and build on previous success.’

“On the League of Ireland front STATSports are working with Dundalk FC and St Patricks Athletic. With fundamental roots of senior management from Dundalk, the company always see themselves working in the SSE Airtricity League and continuing to deliver and develop the STATSports solution. Dundalk FC are wearing the new Apex pod which was launched by STATSports in 2017 and is taking the Elite Sports Industry by storm. Regularly, staff from STATSports are in 5 different continents delivering, supporting and selling their services to Elite sports teams and Athletes. It’s nice to know that with all that travelling, home is Oriel Park and STATSports are looking forward to the season ahead. C’mon the town.”

Dundalk FC strength and conditioning coach, Graham Byrne, said: “We first started working with STATsports in January 2016 where we gathered data from training and preseason campaign. The data was very insightful and valuable at the time. So much so that I went on to complete a thesis in GPS in soccer as part of my Masters in Exercise Science at UCD.

“The game is always evolving and with advances in technology sports science is offering more info than ever before so its important players and staff embrace the technology and that’s certainly been the case with our team when it comes to working with STATsports as it’s now vital tool for each day.

“STATsports have always been incredibly helpful for myself and the club and this has been emphasised this year with the latest package. They have provided full time sports scientists with Manny Fajemilua & David Maguire who have been a great addition to the staff. For this season we are using their most up to date software which includes live data from each session relayed straight to an iPad which allows us monitor exactly what how hard each player is working at every second via heart rate and GPS.

“Ultimately this can be a vital tool in our quest to ensure that individual players are training and playing at optimum levels as we strive for success on the pitch at Dundalk FC.”

“STATsports sports scientist, Emmanuel Fajemilua, told dundalkfc.com: “I moved to Ireland in September to start the role of Sports Scientist with STATsports. In my role with Dundalk FC I am involved on a daily basis working very closely with Graham Byrne the strength and conditioning coach.

“We use GPS to monitor the training sessions of the first team players and we see what workload they put in. I’m am actually from London and I come from an area called Peckham. I am also an Arsenal supporter, but Dundalk is growing on me.

“STATsports is the world leader in Elite Sports Performance Analytics. STATsports provides player tracking systems used by elite teams all over the world including teams in the FIFA World Cup, UEFA Champions League, UEFA Europa League, Premier League, NFL, NBA and many more.

“Our technologies allows us to provide precise positional tracking in order to quantify athlete performance across training and games. This allows us to optimise performance by planning and delivering training appropriate to the needs of the players. The training load can then be managed to minimise the risk of athlete breakdown and performance loss.

“Working with Dundalk FC is great! It has been as much a learning opportunity for me as well as a teaching one. Initially I had to get everyone educated in terms of how to best make use of the technology.

“The team is also full of great people in terms and of all staff and players. The lads have taught me loads about the Irish history and teaching me how to play football, I can now play for a total of 30 seconds.

I’m still very confused about the many different accents found in Ireland but yeah, overall I’ve learnt a lot in my time here so far. On a serious note though, it has been insightful seeing how an Irish football club operates. I’m very much looking forward to the start of the SSE Airtricity League season.”

Dundalk FC central defender, Brian Gartland, said: “It’s great to see us using STATsports as if you don’t move and change with the times then you will be left behind.

“It’s also a sign the club is investing in the players, that by brining STATsports in they are monitoring all players to identify where we can improve and also try to minimise injury in the future.

“We have only been using them a few weeks so I suppose we will have to wait awhile for the data to build up to see patterns and trends.

“However, a great part of it is the competitiveness in us as a team. The charts are put up on the wall after sessions and matches to show you where you are at in comparison to others and that’s a great way to push each other on in pre-season, everyone wants to be near the top.

“I’m really looking forward to continuing to work with STATsports as like I said, it’s only the start so hopefully we reap the benefits of it down the line”